Winter conditions can leave your skin feeling itchy, red, and dry. Both the cold air and windy weather outside combined with an increase in heating and hot baths/showers inside are the culprits. Combat temperature changes with a winter skincare routine. This includes being conscious of the way you clean, moisturize, nourish and protect your skin.
Hot showers and baths may sound like an appealing option, but prolonged high water temperatures will actually serve to dry skin further. Limiting time to 10 minutes, and alternating between hot and cold will help relieve inflammation and stimulate the removal of toxins from your major organs of elimination: the skin and lymph. Cold water may sound hard to stomach, but contrast hydrotherapy and finishing your shower on cold can support your body’s temperature regulation and will actually make you feel warmer when you get out, without drying out your skin as much!
Mitigate dry skin by removing excess dead skin cells that lie on the surface. Regular exfoliation and dry skin brushing will help promote soft/smooth skin as well as lymphatic drainage. Dry skin brushing is usually done before bathing by running a natural bristle brush over the skin starting at the feet/hands and moving towards the heart/chest. This process will help loosen and remove dead skin cells without causing damage, all while supporting lymphatic flow and toxin drainage as this system lies just below the skin. Many at-home exfoliating scrubs can easily be thrown together using ingredients such as: coconut oil, apple cider vinegar, lemon, salt, sugar, essential oils etc. for use in the shower.
Avoiding skin cleansers that contain foaming agents and alcohols will also help protect skin and decrease dryness. Sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, and ammonium laurel sulfate are all chemicals which are commonly added to soaps, cleansers, body wash, shampoos etc. to cause them to “foam up”. These bubbling agents are known to strip the skin of natural oils and act as an irritant to the skin, eyes, and respiratory tract. Try: Seaflora Cleansing Concentrate for an all natural, locally made, gentle cleanser.
An obvious step when attempting to combat dry/irritated skin is to try and keep it hydrated and supple. During the winter it is definitely appropriate to switch to a thicker more oil-based cream or moisturizer, over the lighter lotions which may be sufficient throughout other times of the year. Using an oil on clean skin just after showering/bathing, before the skin has completely dried, can help seal in moisture. Coconut oil and almond oil are household favourites, or try Dr. Katie Leah‘s Calendula oil which is a combination of Calendula officinalis, rosemary extract, and extra virgin olive oil. Other natural moisturizers that we carry: Calendula Cream and Scentuals Hand & Body Repair Cream
This recommendation goes right back to the basics: drinking enough water, eating healthy whole foods, getting adequate sleep and exercise all help set the foundation for a balanced body and radiant skin. Each time you consume something, you have the opportunity to nourish, neglect or even abuse your body. Giving yourself the simple nutrients needed to function such as water, amino acids (found in protein), and healthy fats (essential fatty acids) will literally nurture and support your body and your skin, and we often forget this!
Wearing gloves and scarves to protect your skin and limit exposure to cold and windy conditions is a simple and potentially stylish tool! Although the sun may be hiding and may not seem as strong, on clear days and definitely if you are going to be outdoors in the snow, do not forget to protect the skin on your face with sunscreen containing zinc oxide or titanium dioxide such as: Coola Suncare or Luzern LA Defense.